Part of the 60′s back-to-the-land movement, Dottie Simmons simmonsnaturals.com relocated to rural Northern California due to allergy/sensitivity problems aggravated by the San Francisco Bay Area atmosphere. In 1968, she started “homesteading”, raising goats, poultry, other livestock, and gardening. Here she met her husband, Dennis, raised three children and, in 1977, they purchased their own property. In 1979, she began making soap. Dottie, like many of us, could not easily find soap that did not cause a reaction. That led to the start of Simmons Naturals.
Her business began in 1980 by going to small local craft shows selling handspun yarns and knitwear. In 1982 she added soap, which slowly took over due to customer demand. Unfortunately, a lovely sweater can last forever! The most important thing that Dottie learned as a soapmaker is to have enough patience to keep working for a consistently good product that is completely cured and well tested (6 months to a year).
When not making soap,
Moving to full-time soapmaking
Dottie is an avid gardener and cook. Particular specialties are: preserving food; developing herb blends and condiments; and she is currently experimenting with making vinegar. Dottie’s family is employed full time in their soapmaking business. During the first 8 years of selling soap, she and Dennis had other jobs, but gradually, after adding wholesale accounts, mail order, and an internet store they are now able to devote ALL their time to the business.
Dottie warns soapmaking can be addicting! And cautions everyone to always be safe with your ingredients, especially if you have young children or pets.One of the things that makes Simmons Natural Bodycare unique is the home and business are “off-the-grid”, making their own electricity via Solar PV panels, a small wind turbine and a micro-hydro system! Dottie is a Mom and Grandmother who loves life and tries to balance work with gardening, family, Tai Chi and community. She even finds time to volunteer for the local Emergency Medical Services and to help out as a volunteer for the HSMG.